Website accessibility focuses on inclusion, allowing people with disabilities or barriers to have a good user experience. This practice is possible to implement for all web platforms, including WordPress sites and covers many aspects that support accessibility.
Through this article, you will learn the ways to make your WordPress site more accessible and understand its importance. Read along.
What is WordPress Accessibility?
Accessibility is about making website design and interface available for everyone. WordPress values the same idea and encourages it by providing a user handbook and dedicating a team to focus on accessibility features.
Designing accessible WordPress sites can be challenging for some as it optimizes both the front end and back end. For that reason, we’ve compiled ten practical ways to make your WordPress site accessible.
1. Choose a WordPress Hosting Provider
If you’re already using WordPress, you’re off to a good start. WordPress is beneficial for you in many factors. For accessibility, WordPress brings emphasis and shows commitment through its blog, plugins, and guidelines. It’s also user and SEO-friendly, making it a great long-term solution.
If you’re not a WordPress user, visit this site to find hosting designed specifically for WordPress. CMS-specific hosting offers benefits like improved security and better speed. With an affordable starting price of $0.99, you can create your accessible WordPress site complete with the essential features.
2. Test the Current Website Accessibility
Testing your current website accessibility allows you to know how compliant your website is and how many improvements you need to make. In addition, you can improve work productivity by saving time and effort.
To test your website, use one of these tool options, or go to the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. After that, start prioritizing the most crucial aspect for inclusion and your business strategies. Finally, make the adjustments accordingly.
3. Use an Accessible WordPress Theme
In addition to the blog and plugin, WordPress has many themes that support accessibility. Select one of the accessibility-ready themes for your website. By using the theme, you can skip plenty of design tasks and focus on website operations instead.
If possible, regularly check the theme’s developer for any updates. It’s just as important to stay relevant to the general guidelines of theme accessibility.
4. Add Alt Text to Images
Alt text helps visually-impaired users to understand what’s displayed in images better. This is possible using a screen reader, where the users hear image descriptions through alt text. Always add alt text to featured or decorative images on your website.
To create the right alt text, you can follow these best practices or use plugins like Yoast to help. Yoast includes keyword suggestions to guide you write alt text — both beneficial for accessibility and SEO.
5. Use Colors Wisely
Choose your website colors wisely for users with color blindness. Using accessibility-friendly colors provides an improved user experience and credibility. All of these due to the better traffic rate from more users clicking and staying on your website.
The safe option is to use contrasting colors, like black and white or black and yellow. Alternatively, use Google Chrome extensions like Spectrum or Colorblinding to simulate color blindness on your website. This helps you understand which pages or buttons need changing.
6. Choose Clear Typography
The goal is to make the typography suitable and appropriate for the audience. Aside from catering to people with learning disabilities or dyslexia, choosing clear typography effectively increases website readability.
For fonts, choose simple ones like serif or sans serif. Limit your website fonts to two for headings and body text. Also, pay attention to the colors, paragraph spacing, and sizes. Use Hemingway Editor to test content readability as well.
7. Make Content Readable
Similar to typography, readable content helps deliver your message better and improve SEO. Users can quickly understand your website and all content in it — which helps with business and community growth. This also goes for people using screen-reader software.
Consider SEO-friendly aspects like typeface, text colors, and formatting. Also, add keywords and simple language through short sentences and active words. Make links and headings visible. Use readability guides like the Flesch-Kincaid test or SEO plugins to guide you.
8. Have a Clear Navigation Menu
A clear navigation menu relies on responsive website design. It helps with both accessibility and ease of use for mobile users — creating a great first impression for visitors.
To help with navigation, structure the headings in the website effectively. Focus on the essential pages and use dropdowns for a better page directory. Opt for these responsive WordPress themes, or check this guide.
9. Add Caption to Videos
Adding captions or audio transcripts brings significant benefits for users with hearing disabilities and overcoming difficulties in understanding the speaker’s accent. It also works for non-native speakers of the language you use in the video.
Video captioning includes a summary of sounds, expressions, and text. Be as thorough as possible. Use YouTube or these tools to provide captions to the videos. Aside from captions, you can also remove the autoplay feature and add controls to play or stop the video.
10. Apply Keyboard Navigation
Applying keyboard navigation means the control comes entirely from keyboard shortcuts. This method works for users with physical disabilities or those using screen-readers. It’s also beneficial for websites with lots of interaction.
To apply keyboard navigation, test all of the buttons, page scrolling, links, and see if it works without using a mouse. Implement the common keyboard shortcuts. Alternatively, add skip links for easier user navigation.
Why Is Website Accessibility Important?
We’ve talked about tips to make a WordPress site accessible, now let’s talk about why it’s important. WordPress accessibility is a practice of social inclusion, and you will understand the importance through its benefits.
First, your website becomes more trustworthy from the inclusion alone — representation matters greatly. Second, you’ll get more traffic and better lead generation by including as many user demographics as possible.
Third, accessibility also means an optimized website, which brings a better SEO score. Lastly, adding accessibility means less frequent updates, which benefits overall page ranking on the search engines.
We hope this article encourages you to make an accessible WordPress website. Try implementing as many methods as possible. Good luck!